Connecticut Day Trip Ideas

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Connecticut Day Trip Ideas

Connecticut is located in the most southernmost region of New England. At somewhere around 5,500 square miles, Ct. is the fourth smallest state in the US. That does not mean it is small with adventure and fun things to do however. With small beaches and a major river running through the middle of the state, Connecticut offers hiking, kayaking, rafting, fishing, sunbathing, boating and more! There are also more than a few amazing waterfalls to explore. Below are 58 fun attractions and activities organized by region.


 

Things to do and Day Trip Ideas in Eastern Connecticut


Mystic Seaport 
75 Greenmanvile Ave Mystic CT 06355
860-572-0711
The Mystic Seaport Museum explores life on the high seas. New exhibits pop up year round, featuring information and displays based on marine life and marine warfare around the world. Mystic also features a planetarium, 19th-century style Seaport Village, dining areas, shops, and more. This is a wonderful place to spend the day in Eastern CT!


Mystic Aquarium
55 Coogan Blvd.  Mystic CT 06355

860-572-5955
Learn about marine life on the east coast at the Mystic Aquarium. Through conservation, education, and research, the Mystic Aquarium aims to protect and care for the Ocean planet. This aquarium features beluga whales, african penguins, seals & sea lions, sharks, rays, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.


Florence Griswold Museum 
96 Lyme Street Old Lyme, CT 06731

860-434-5542
The Lyme Art Colony is a historic period in American history. Through their art, we can see how they lived, worked, and played. The mission of this museum is to educate the idea of American Impressionism. Explore the history of New England through artists of the 19th to 21st century.


Thimble Islands Cruise 
4 Indian Point Road Branford CT 06405

203-481-3345
Join Captain Bob for an unforgettable journey aboard the Volusunga IV. This 48 passenger boat can be provided privately or with others on a daily sightseeing adventure. It's a 45-minute ride that is relaxing and fun!


Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
409 North Main Street Niantic CT 06357

860-691-1111
With over 5,000 square feet on one floor, taking your children to the Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut will be easy. Getting them to leave will be the hard part. Three different play areas will keep them busy for hours!


U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum 
One Crystal Lake Road Groton Connecticut 06340
860-694-3174
It's not just a museum, it's an adventure. Climb aboard the U.S.S. Nautilus and see how the ship operated in a time of war. This one of the few historic battleships in Conneciticut, so it's a must-stop on your list of things to do in CT.


Prudence Crandall House Museum
1 South Centerbury Road Canterbury CT 06331
860-546-7800
Prudence Crandall is Connecticut's official heroine and the first to open an academy in New England for African-American women. Even though the school was shut down, Crandall will always be known for her courage in the face of adversity.



Things to do and Day Trip Ideas in Southwestern Connecticut


New Canaan Nature Center 
144 Oenoke Ridge New Canaan CT 06840
203-966-9577
The New Canaan Nature Center provides visitors with education about the preservation of the environment around them so people can learn about respecting, protecting, and enjoying the great outdoors!


The Maritime Aquarium 
10 North Water Street Norwalk CT 06654
203-852-0700
Explore the sea with the Maritime Aquarium. For over 30 years, the Maritime Aquarium has aimed to protect the Long Island Sound through education. Exhibits are unique to the museum, such as the Sea Turtle Nursery, where a baby turtle is rescues, taken care of, then released into the wild!


Housatonic Museum of Art 
900 Lafayette Boulevard Bridgeport CT 
203-332-5052
The Housatonic Museum of Art provides visitors with the preservation of art from Bridgeport, Fairfiled County, and Southern New England. As one of the contemporary art museums in Connecticut, it is worth a visit.


The Barnum Museum 
820 Main Street Bridgeport CT 
203-331-1104
As the leading authority on P.T. Barnum's life and work, The Barnum Museum is important to Connecticut and American history. This building is the last remaining building that is associated with pioneer Barnum. Learn about his life and contributions through this unique museum in CT.


Beardsley Zoo 
1875 Noble Ave Bridgeport CT 06610
203-304-6572
The Bearsley Zoo may not be the Bronx Zoo, but it does provide you with the opportunity to get up close and personal with cool animals. From amphibians and reptiles to foxes, wolves, bats, monkeys, lions, and more, they can see their favorite animals up close (but not too close.)


Bridgeport Discovery Museum  
4450 Park Ave Bridgeport CT 06604
203-372-3521
Hands-on learning is the goal with the Bridgeport Discovery Museum. They want to educate your children through programs that encourage their science and math (STEM) skills. They offer overnights, summer programs, school programs, and more!


Norwalk Seaport Association
213 Libery Square Norwalk CT 06855

203-838-2898
The Norwalk Seaport Association is a fine attraction in Connecticut. Explore the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, which is celebrating 150 years in 2018. With events happening year round, you can discover this historic sight anytime!


The Stamford Museum and Nature Center 
39 Scholfeildtown Road Stamford CT 06903
203-322-1646
The Stamford Museum and Nature Center offers seasonal fun for the whole family. With over 80 acres of nature trails, you can stop by the Heckscher Farm and say hi to the animals! From the farm to the Stamford Museum Galleries, you're in for hours of fun.


The Sports Center of Connecticut
784 River Road Shelton CT 06484
203-929-6500
Get out and play at the Sports Center of Connecticut. This unique family entertainment experience will have everyone occupied for hours. Bowling, golf, hockey, skating, and more await you as you prepare yourself for hours upon hours of family bonding in CT!


Stratford Antique Center 
400 Honeyspot Road Stratford CT 
203-378-7754
This multi-dealer shop has tons of collectibles and antiques. As a one-stop shop for CT antiques, you should head on over for awesome deals. If you're visiting CT, visit the Stratford Antique Center - you never know what you'll find from over 200 vendors.


Bruce Museum 
1 Museum Drive Greenwich CT 06830
203-869-0376
The Bruce Museum combines art, science, and natural history to provide an informative and educational experience for guests to enjoy. Exhibits that stand each day are changes in our land, every object tells a story, life between the tides, and more!


Weir Farm 
732 Nod Hill Road Wilton CT 06897
203-834-1896
The Weir family is known for pioneering impressionalism in New England. See their inspiration, where they lived, and explore the landscape that the Weirs knew and loved. Self-guided and guided tours can be provided upon request!


 

Things to do and Day Trip Ideas in South Central Connecticut


The Barker Character, Comic & Cartoon Museum 
1188 Highland Avenue Cheshire CT 06410
203-272-2357
Gloria and Herbert Barker house a personal collection of over 80,000 cartoons and collectibles. This is a unique museum due to its childhood nature and nostalgia-based items. They opened the museum with the intention of educating future generations about old-school toys, games, and more.


Hammonasset Beach State Park 
1288 Boston Post Road Madison CT 06443
203-245-2785
Connecticut's largest public beach shows the beauty of the Long Island Sound. There is over 2 miles of beach and boardwalk to enjoy the fun and the sun if you're spending the day in CT.


Peabody Museum of Natural History 
170 Whitney Ave New Haven CT 06511
203-432-8987
Nature and science converge to form Yale's own Natural History Museum. Travel through time from dinosaurs, mammals, minerals, birds, and other fun species. If you're taking a day trip in South Central Connecticut, this museum is sure to be a hit with the entire family.


Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center
314 Unquowa Road Fairfield CT 06824
203-259-0416
Through science-based education and advocacy, the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center looks to help the environment of the state. They work hard as volunteers to help birds and the ecosystems in the state survive!


Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop 
915 Whitney Ave Hamden CT 06517
203-777-1833
The Eli Whitney Museum prides itself on being a workshop. Here, they build things and let others let their creative brain run wild. Originally used as a location for running water in Eli Whitney's time, it is now a place for exploration of the mind, just like Whitney's.


Amistad America
129 Church Street New Haven CT 06510
203-498-8222
The Amistad is a huge part of Connecticut's progress and history. A ship overthrown by the slaves taken from their country, the Amistad endured a lot when it washed up on the shore of New London, CT. Now it remains a piece of education for all to learn about the progress as a nation and a state.


The Yale Center for British Art
1080 Chapel Street New Haven 06510
203-432-2800
The Yale Center for British Art focuses on the education of the cultural impact of British culture. Currently, exhibits include Britain in the World, which offers paintings and sculptures focused on international trade, John Goto's "High Summer Series," a cool look into British culture, and more!


Shubert Performing Arts Center 
247 College Street New Haven CT 06510
203-562-5666
The Shubert Theatre has been open since 1914 and since then has provided audiences with all types of entertainment. Known as the "birthplace of the nation's greatest hits," the theater produced world-famous stars and icons. Rogers, of Rogers and Hammerstien, premiered many of his shows on this very stage!


 

Things to do and Day Trip Ideas in Northwest Connecticut


 Quassy Amusement Park 
2132 Middlebury Road Middlebury CT 06762
203-758-2913
Right on the lake in Middlebury, CT, lies an amusement park that's worth a stop on your CT day trip itinerary. In the early 1900s Lake Quassapug, the lake Quassy is based off of, become a summer resort. Stemming from it's inception of a full amusement park in 1952, Quassy has become a unique family-friendly destination with water rides, dry rides, and kiddie rides.


Lime Rock Park 
60 White Hollow Road Lakeville CT 06039
860-435-5000
Lime Rock opened in 1957 and prides itself on the tracks being untouched and virtually the same since they opened the park. This historical racing track hosted the 1959 Formula Libre event.  See where sports pros have raced for years!


Railroad Museum of New England 
242 E Main Street Thamston CT 06787
860-283-7245
The Railroad Museum of New England aims to tell the story of the history behind the region's rich railroads. For decades New England used trains as a main form of transportation - and they still do today! Come take a ride on one of their tours!


Lake Compounce 
822 Lake Ave Bristol CT 06010
860-583-3300
With rides and attractions for all ages, Lake Compounce provides families with a cool day trip in Connecticut. From water rides to thrilling coasters and relaxed options for the little ones, they'll never want to leave this unique CT attraction.


The Institute for American Indian Studies 
38 Curtis Road Washinton CT 06793
860-868-0518
Education and research make up this museum and center for American Indian history. Litchfield County is full of American Indian history. Witness the clothing, culture, and life of American Indian life in Connecticut.


The New England Carousel Museum 
95 Riverside Drive Bristol CT 06010
860-585-5411
The New England Carousel Museum is an educational organization that dispays carousel art and memerobilia. The Museum of Fire History also shares its space with the carousel museum, a fun display of firefighter equipment that children will love. Educational programs taught by retired firefighters!


The Glebe House Museum and Gertrude Jekyll Garden
49 Hollow Road Woodbury CT 06798
203-263-2855
Right in Litchfield Hills, history runs rich throughout the Glebe House. Here, you can see what life was like in the 18th century. Restored in 1923, the house is a true historic landmark. The garden furthers the beauty of the museum that was once home to religious leaders and individuals.


Danbury Railway Museum 
120 White Street Danbury CT 06813
203-778-8337
The Danbury Railway Museum provides train rides and guided tours of their old-school museums. This isn't the Metro-North! Enjoy a look back at the history of trains in Danbury and beyond!


American Clock and Watch Museum 
100 Maple Street Bristol CT 06010
860-583-6070
The American Clock and Watch museum will literally take you back in time. They have over 5,500 clocks and watches from days past. This unique museum is full of clocks you've never seen up close!


The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum 
258 Main Street Ridgefield CT 06877
203-438-4519
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum inspires creativity through education and preservation of art exhibits. The museum is one of the few in the United State who do not collect the art and tries to engage a diverse audience into independent thinking. Explore their exhibits that change all the time!


 

Things to do and Day Trip Ideas in Central Connecticut


Gillette Castle State Park
67 River Road East Haddam CT 06423

860-526-2336
Gillette Castle State Park is a beautiful Connecticut landmark you just have to see to believe. Staff will answer any questions you may have about the castle and it's history. A picnic shelter, visitor center, and food concessions are available to use after your hike to the castle.


Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride 
1 Railroad Ave Essex CT 06426
860-767-0103
A 12-mile train and riverboat ride await you as you hope on this old-school retro train for a cool adventure. From dinner train rides to seasonal excursions year round, this company provides the perfect birthday party, romantic dinner, business excursion, and so much more!


Dinosaur State Park 
400 West Street Rocky Hill CT 06067
860-529-5816
One day, while uncovering tracks for a new state building, 2,000 year old dinosaur bones were found. Thus, Dinosaur State Park was born. The park opened in 1968. Come learn all about the dinosaurs that roamed long before humans!


Lutz Children's Museum
247 South Main Street Manchester CT 06040
860-643-0949
This museum is made just for them. Here, they can learn all about culture, history, and science! The museum offers summer camps and educational programs for kids to learn more and explore right on-site of the Lutz Children's Museum.


The Children's Museum 
950 Trout Brook Drive West Hartford CT 06119
860-231-2824
The Children's Museum in West Hartford provides an excellent spot for kids to discover more about the world around them. This museum is unique in the fact that is has an Animal Sanctuary, where mammals, birds, and amphibians are rescued because they can no longer function in the wild. Explore all the museum has to offer in CT!


Roaring Brook Nature Center 
70 Gracey Road Canton CT 06019
860-693-0263
Roaring Brook Nature Center is a hub for discovery and exploration of the great outdoors. From parties and discovery programs to scout and club programs, children can learn all about Connecticut wildlife and nature that is all around them.


Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut 
115 Pierson Lane Windsor CT
860-683-2903
This museum is all about the way the nation has grown through technology of radio and communications. From radios and telegraphs to TV's, this museum showcases communications equipment through time. A cool museum in Central Connecticut.


New Britain Museum of American Art  
56 Lexington Street New Britain CT 06052
860-229-0257
The New Britain Museum of American Art encourages the flowing of the creative brain and offers classes for children and adults. The exhibits enourage history and self-expression. They also offer events such as lectures and programs with notable artists.


New Britain Youth Museum 
30 High Street New Britain CT 06051
860-225-3020
Creativity is key in children. That's why the New Britain Youth Museum aims to encourage the arts and humanaties in young people. Educational programs and exhibits provide greart lessons in nature for kids!


 Connecticut Landmarks Society
59 South Prospect Street Hartford CT 06106
860-247-8996
Over eleven different properties make up the Connecitcut Landmarks, which are protect and cared for by volunteers. From house tours to gardens, you can always find something new to explore at their locations. Connecticut history lives here!


Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine 
115 Newgate Road East Granby CT 06026
860-653-3563
This is the only surviving state prison in the nation. With 45 acres of land, a two-story guardhouse, and four other old buildings. The land is also combined with a copper mine, which was once used as workhouse for convicted criminals from the prison.  This unique historic site will be re-opening to the public in 2018.


Mark Twain House and Museum 
351 Farmington Ave Hartford CT 06105
860-247-0998
Mark Twain is one of the most notable authors in American history. See where him and his wife lived for quite some time and walk through a day in the life of an American icon.


Goodspeed Musicals 
6 Main Street East Haddam CT 06423
860-873-8668
Goodspeed is a very successful musical theater company that opened its doors in 1963. Musicals are their specialty, while they also educate children in musical theater education and practice. Stop in and see one of their high-quality shows.


The Copernican Observatory and Planetarium 
1615 Stanley Street New Britain CT 06050
On the first and third Saturdays of each month, this planetarium provides the public with a cool show! Explore the stars right on this college campus. The show is free, so catch it next time you're in Connecticut.


Connecticut River Museum 
67 Main Street Essex CT 06426
860-767-8269
This museum makes it the mission of the volunteers to remember the history of the Connecitcut river and its people. The historic Steamboat Dock in Essex is also maintained by the Connecticut River Museum preservation volunteers.


Connecticut Science Center
250 Columbus Blvd Hartford CT 
860-520-2160
The Connecticut Science Center has more than 165 exhibits! Free flying butterflies surround you in one exhibit, while the sight and sound exhibit will allow you to make some noise. Tons of interactive exhibits make up this incredible center for science, which also offers children and teen education programs. 


New England Air Museum 
36 Perimeter Road Windsor Locks CT 
860-623-3305
Aircrafts and engines make up only some of the cool exhibits you and your family can enjoy at the New England Air Museum. Walk past large airplanes that were used in aircraft missions in World War II. Learn all about the people from Connecticut who contributed to aviation, too!


Northwest Park and Nature Center 
145 Lang Road Windsor CT 06095
860-285-1886
With over 473 acres of land, this park and nature center provides a place for CT residents to explore the green grass around them. The parks natural beauty is enjoyed by hikers, fishers, campers, and the like. Come experience it for yourself!


Southwind Farms 
223 Morris Town Line Road Watertown CT 06795

860-274-9001
Southwind Farms is a cool alpaca farm right in Connecticut. Tour the farm, get to know the alpaca family, and buy some alpaca-made products. This is a unique farm right in Watertown!


Talcott Mountain State Park 
57 Gun Mill Road Bloomfield CT 06002
860-242-1158
At the top of this mountain, you can reap the rewards. The Heublein Tower sits at the top, where you can explore this structure that is only accessible by foot. At the park, picnic tables, facilities, grills, and water create a great family atmosphere!

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